Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES), 1997-2022

Project Overview

In 1997, the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) was launched to provide descriptive, nationally representative information on the characteristics, experiences and development of Head Start children and families, and the characteristics of the Head Start programs and staff who serve them.

FACES 1997-2009

Five FACES cohorts were fielded from 1997 through 2009 – FACES 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009. Each cohort through 2009 includes a nationally representative sample of 3- to 4-year-old children entering Head Start for the first time in the fall of the program year, their families, Head Start teachers, classrooms, centers, and programs. Children are sampled from Head Start programs and centers from across the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

FACES 2014-2018

In 2011, ACF redesigned the study in an effort to prioritize timely and relevant research questions, explore innovative design options, update assessment tools and measures, and to better meet the data needs of the Office of Head Start for ongoing management of the Head Start program.

The newly redesigned FACES, implemented in fall 2014, features a new “Core Plus” study design. The “Core” study includes regular, ongoing data collection on a set of key indicators at the program, classroom, and child/family level. The “Plus” options include rotating modules or one-time, special studies that allow for greater flexibility to respond to new policy issues and questions in a timely manner.

FACES 2019-2022

In 2017, a new contract was awarded continuing with the “Core Plus” design implemented in FACES 2014-2018. Data collection for the FACES CORE is fielded approximately every two years alternating between a “Classroom + Child Outcomes Core” and a “Classroom Core” data collection. Specifically, the Classrooms will be observed approximately every two years, while Child Outcomes will be observed approximately every four or five years.

The Classroom + Child Outcomes Core draws data from a nationally representative sample of 3- to 4-year-old children and their families, teachers, classrooms, centers, and programs in Regions I-X. The Classroom + Child Outcomes Core also includes a second sample of approximately 800 children and their families, teachers, classrooms, centers, and programs selected from Region XI programs.

FACES 2019-2022 is conducted through a contract to Mathematica Policy Research.

The points of contact are Mary Mueggenborg and Nina Philipsen Hetzner.

  • FACES Instrument Matrix

    Published: June 15, 2010

    The Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) uses many instruments to collect data…

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